Therapies for Covid-19 infections have greatly increased chances of patient survival since the start of the pandemic, and yet researchers believe one key form of therapy won't work against infections with a new subvariant.
Omicron BQ.1.1, which along with BQ.1 now makes up for the majority of infections in the United States and is rapidly spreading in other countries, is resistant to currently approved antibody therapies, the German Primate Center research institute says.
The, published in the The Lancet Infectious Diseases scientific journal in November, calls on doctors to avoid relying solely on antibody treatment in regions where BQ.1.1 is highly prevalent.
When treating infected high-risk patients, doctors should also consider other drugs such as paxlovid, said study leader Markus Hoffmann.
The researchers believe that new antibody therapies will now also need to be developed in order to maintain the health care arsenal for fighting serious cases of Covid-19.
In their laboratory tests on cell cultures, the researchers found that BQ.1.1 could neither be neutralised by individual antibodies nor by antibody cocktails.
BQ.1.1 is only the latest subvariant of Sars-CoV-2 to show resistance to existing treatment methods for coronavirus infections. The cause of the resistance is the mutation of the so-called spike protein of the coronavirus, the researchers said.
"The ever-increasing development of resistance to Sars-CoV-2 variants makes it necessary to develop new antibody therapies that are particularly adapted to the currently circulating and future virus variants," explained Stefan Pöhlmann, head of the Department of Infection Biology at the Primate Centre. – dpa